Youngest rabbi at Beth Torah
I would like to wish a hearty mazal tov to Beth Torah Congregation in Toronto on its 50th anniversary (Shuls celebrate special anniversaries, April 18). However, I would like to mention that although Rabbi Yossi Sapirman is one of the youngest rabbis in the shul’s history, there was a rabbi younger than him. My late uncle, Rabbi Solomon Z. Domb, became rabbi of Beth Torah at the tender age of 23, although his 6-foot-3 large-framed stature may have made him appear to be older than he actually was. He served not only as the shul’s rabbi but also as its chazzan. My uncle was a child prodigy and received his Orthodox smichah in New York, in addition to studying chazzanut under the personal guidance of world-renowned Cantor David Koussevitzky. He had a wonderful strong tenor voice that I greatly miss to this day. He became the rabbi and cantor at Beth Torah in 1975 and served until 1980. He then went on to become chazzan at Beth Tikvah Synagogue for a short period of time until he started his own synagogue, the first and only of its kind in Thornhill, B’nai Shalom North Congregation.
Julie Domb Gonik
* * *
Rabbi Kelman’s visionary concept
The loss of The CJN is a huge loss. Over the past two years, Rabbi Jay Kelman, in his column, has alerted us to perhaps the most critical need facing our community today: the threat to Jewish continuity. His columns detail the enormous financial burden on parents of Jewish day school students and what this means for our future. His visionary concept of “Birthright Education” is imaginative and brilliant. He proposes pragmatic solutions to make this education eventually self-sustaining. In the column “Four questions about Jewish education” (April 4), Rabbi Kelman challenges us all to address this now, before a generation is lost. In time, it may benefit many communities around the globe. But we need to start here and now. This is a project truly worthy of our time and effort.
* * *
The CJN feels like home
I am so sad to hear that The CJN is planning to stop publishing! It has been a staple in my life for so many years, a Jewish Canadian institution. Our family would always look forward to reading it each Shabbat. I have always found the paper to be replete with fascinating articles and columns. I could always read it and find mention of the schools, institutions, shuls and people that have been a part of my emotional landscape for my entire life. Where else could you read columns from your high school history teacher, university professor and rabbi alongside reports about the important issues affecting the Jewish world? I read a good Jewish paper in New York, but for me, The CJN will always feel like home.
Janine Muller Sherr
New York, N.Y.
* * *
The CJN is vital
The CJN is a vital and perhaps the only organ that keeps Canadian Jews in contact with one another and is the only voice of those people, as distinct from official organizations, that speak for their (legitimate) interests. The Jewish people in this country are facing increasing pressure, and our organizations are financially strapped. It is greatly disturbing to think that Canada cannot support just one vital paper with the world’s fourth-largest Jewish community.
David S. Sinclair
* * *
Incorrect information from the Internet
There is a historical error in the article “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising commemorated,” (April 25), about the event held at the Polish consulate in Montreal on April 17. In the article, the writer places a young Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman under the care of the Polish wartime heroine Irena Sendler. Renata did not meet, nor did she even knew of the existence of Sendler until decades after the war. I suspect the writer culled this tidbit of misinformation from the Internet. It was first put out four years ago by the Hallmark Hall of Fame, who used Renata as a poster child for the Holocaust, in order to promote one of their films. Indeed, despite Renata’s protests, Hallmark insisted upon it. (According to the Internet, Renata was also sent to Treblinka. If that were true, she wouldn’t be here – and I wouldn’t be here. I’m Renata’s daughter.) There is a piece of work published online that tells the story behind the story of the origins of this myth. It’s called Going Hollywood. In that case, the author got it right.
S. Nadja Zajdman
* * *
Term harmful to Poland, Polish people
I am writing to you to express my concern about the expression “Polish camp,” used in the article “Rhodes’ historic synagogue sparkles like new” (April 25). Please refrain from using the adjective “Polish” when describing concentration/death camps that were conceived, built and run by Nazi Germany during the war in occupied Poland. Using the term “Polish death camp” is harmful to Poland and Polish people, and it might leave doubt in minds of Canadian readers, especially young people, as to whom established and operated those camps. As Poland was the first country to be attacked by Nazi Germany and Poles were the first prisoners of most concentration camps where nearly all the Polish Jews were murdered, the use of an expression “Polish camp” is offensive to Polish people as well as to Polish Canadians.
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto